# A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Steve Cradock - Travel Wild Travel Free

  by Malcolm Carter

published: 5 / 10 / 2013

Steve Cradock - Travel Wild Travel Free
Label: Proper Records
Format: CD


Evocative third solo album from Ocean Colour Scene guitarist and Paul Weller band member, Steve Cradock

If Steve Cradock keeps progressing and releasing albums as strong as ‘Travel Wild-Travel Free’ we are going to have to stop referring to him as a founder member of Ocean Colour Scene or as Paul Weller’s sidekick. That Cradock has a love for 60's pop and psychedelia is no secret. His work with the above mentioned bears this out easily, and Cradock’s previous two solo albums also mined the 60's for inspiration. But for his third solo album Craddock appears to have really cracked it. While it’s been some time since Ocean Colour Scene have delivered a consistently great album and one gets the feeling sometimes that Cradock is held back from really shining when working with Weller, ‘Travel Wild-Travel Free’ is a little gem of an album from start to finish. While Weller has worked hard at times to emulate his heroes like Steve Marriott the realisation that Cradock is, without even really trying, a modern day Ronnie Lane is really obvious on this album. From the cover image of Craddock leading his wife, Sally, who lends some fine vocals to the album not least on the opening, ‘Anyway the Wind Blows’, on horseback along a canal path, this album just oozes the unique Englishness of Lane’s most successful and interesting work. It is where Steve Cradock for all his musical accomplishments in the past finally delivers a whole album of wonderful, magical sounds. It’s Lane’s ‘The Poacher’ expanded into a whole album and it’s a corker. Sally Cradock takes lead vocals on that dreamy opening track which she also had a hand in writing and once again shows that she’s no Linda McCartney; Sally’s contribution to the whole album, not just this song, is immense. The song perfectly captures not only the sound of Steve’s beloved 60's heroes but also the spirit of the times brilliantly. Sally’s vocals float above the melody conjuring up a lazy late summer’s afternoon lying by the riverside. It’s a perfect slice of psychedelia that you don’t want to end. ‘Sheer Inertia’ follows and, while Steve’s vocals at times seem to be fighting to be heard again, the song has a dream-like quality to it despite Cradock’s edgy guitar leaving you in no doubt that he hasn’t forgotten his love of 60's R’n’B. As usual a mesmerising Cradock melody instantly finds a home in your head and the mysterious spoken female vocals way back in the mix make this one of the most interesting songs on the album. Or so you would think but ‘I Am The Sea’ which is a co-write with Andy Crofts (The Moons) is simply brimming with ideas. Again spoken female vocals make an appearance, Cradock’s own mellow vocals hover over yet another compelling melody and whole thing sounds so complete and so perfect. By the fourth track, ‘The Magic Hour’ you’re convinced that Cradock has made the best album he’s ever been involved in.‘Travel Wild-Travel Free’ leaves not only Cradock’s previous solo albums in the shade, but it also towers over his work with Ocean Colour Scene, and it’s no exaggeration to say that even given Weller’s resurgence as one of his generation's best songwriters this album is more instantly appealing than the Woking Wonder’s last few albums. If you were told that ‘The Magic Hour’ was a long lost ‘Odessey & Oracle’ track you wouldn’t doubt it for a second. But as usual Cradock hasn’t just recreated the sounds of the past, he’s thrown in a little McCartney and The Beach Boys into this Zombies-inspired track just to keep things interesting. ‘10,000 Times’, a co-write with Chris Difford (Squeeze), could have been lifted straight off ‘ The Who Sell Out’ if it wasn’t for Sally Cradock’s vocals stealing the show yet again. These songs really are that good. With seemingly little fanfare Cradock has produced the album that so many bands, including many of his own famous friends, have been threating to make but never actually delivered. ‘Travel Wild-Travel Free’ is fault-free. Cradock throws obvious nods at all of his musical heroes throughout the album, 'Immediate'-era Small Faces is one of the most expected and noticeable and if that band had cut another album after ‘Ogden's Nut Gone Flake’ it’s a sure bet that it wouldn’t have sounded so different from ‘Travel-Wild-Travel Free’. Cradock’s always been there beavering away. While there never was any doubt that he is a guitar player of some worth, his solo work has never been given the recognition it deserves but ‘Travel Wild-Travel Free’ should be the album that finally marks Cradock out as a major talent and not just as an above average team player. Just one thing, in the absence of the Cradock produced PP Arnold album that was never released, after her performance on this album how about a Cradock produced album by Sally Cradock? Her work on this album shines brilliantly.

Track Listing:-
1 Anyway the Wind Blows
2 Sheer Inertia
3 I Am the Sea
4 The Magic Hour
5 10,000 Times
6 Out of Mist
7 Street Fire
8 Doodle Book
9 Running Isn't Funny Anymore
10 Travel Wild - Travel Free
11 Elizabethan
12 Shark Fin Island
13 Dreaming My Life Away

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Expertly-crafted 60's-influenced second solo album from Ocean Colour Scene guitarist and Paul Weller touring band member, Steve Cradock
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